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Nearly $18 Million in Government Funding Earmarked for Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

July 6, 2022 -- The City of Santa Monica will receive $16.3 million in State funding for three projects, with another $1.5 million from the Federal Government likely to follow.

The State funding -- part of the $308 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last week -- includes $10 million to help modernize the City yards and $4.8 million to improve a stretch of Lincoln Boulevard.

Another $1.5 million is earmarked to help fund the Santa Monica Behavioral Health Center project that will initially focus on the homeless.

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The project will also likely receive another $1.5 million in the FY 2023 appropriations bill the U.S. House of Representatives will take up in the coming weeks.

The funding was Requested by U.S. Representative Ted Lieu as part of some $7.5 million for local homelessness projects in his district, which includes Santa Monica.

The funding will be used to convert an existing City-owned facility into a behavioral health center to accommodate 24/7 intakes from first responders and local emergency rooms.

"While the long-term behavioral health strategy will serve various vulnerable Santa Monica populations, the first phase of the 24/7 center will focus on people experiencing homelessness," Lieu's office announced in a press release Wednesday.

"The Center will serve as a safe alternative for first responders to drop off people who will benefit from behavioral health care and do not meet the level of crisis to require emergency rooms, psychiatric urgent cares, or jail."

The largest share of the State funding will help pay for "infrastructure and operational improvements" for the City Yards Modernization Project, City officials said.

Largely financed with bonds, the $114 million project will modernize the outdated site at 2500 Michigan Avenue the City took over in the late 1940s as the base for municipal maintenance services, including water, resource recovery and recycling, fleet maintenance and fire training.

The 14.7 acre site houses 16 buildings and structures erected over the years and has "become woefully outdated, unsafe and a poor fit for today’s operational demands," according to City officials.

Replacing the City Yards will take place in phases as the old structures are demolished and replaced with new buildings "with pioneering innovations in sustainability and safety," officials said.

The State funding will also help fund the Lincoln Boulevard Neighborhood Corridor Plan, which includes installing medians, crosswalks, lighting and landscaping "to promote efficient vehicular travel and pedestrian safety," City officials said.

The project spans 17 blocks and 1.25 miles along Lincoln, and runs through the Pico, Ocean Park and Sunset Park neighborhoods.

Assemblymember Richard Bloom, who was instrumental in securing the State funding, said the three projects address some of Santa Monica’s longstanding priorities.

"These projects will address critical infrastructure needs in the City and will help ensure the safety of pedestrians in our community, address the growing behavioral health needs of our residents, and help the City meet its sustainability goals,” Bloom said.

Said Mayor Sue Himmelrich, “This state funding will enable the City to advance three important projects that are currently unfunded and align with our priorities of a clean and safe Santa Monica, addressing homelessness and an equitable and inclusive economic recovery.”

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